Pisqa’ 145

Pisqa’ 1451


“Do not plant for yourself an Asherah of any wood”2 (Dt.16:21).

This teaches that whoever plants an Asherah anywhere,

transgresses a proscription.

And how do I know that

one who plants any tree3 on the Mount of the Abode

transgresses a proscription?

The Teaching states:

“Of any wood, near the Altar of HASHEM your God” (Dt.16:21).


R. Eliezer b. Jacob says:

How do I know that

they may not build a [wooden] portico

in the Courtyard [of the Abode]?

The Teaching states:

“Of any wood . . . near the Altar” (Dt.16:21).

When He says:

“Which you will make for yourself” (Dt.16:21)—

this includes [planting an Asherah near] a cultic shrine

[outside of Jerusalem].


“Do not plant for yourself an Asherah” (Dt.16:21).

The Torah elsewhere teaches:

“And burn their Asherahs in fire” (Dt.12:3)—

the proscription of planting [an Asherah]

is a logical deduction

[from the command to burn any Asherah

that has already been planted].

But how do I know that

we may not maintain an Asherah [prior to burning it]?

The Teaching states:

“Do not plant for yourself” (Dt.16:21)—

any type of maintenance [is proscribed].


Another word:

Even a house

[that sheltered an Asherah must be burned];

even a Festival Hut.4

  1. H: 184; NJ2: 6.
  2. Heb:`eitz. In biblical Hebrew, `eitz identifies both a “tree” and its “wood.”
  3. Heb: ‘ilan, is a loan-word from Aramaic and is common in rabbinic Hebrew as the general designation for “tree.” I know of no instances where ‘ilan designates “wood.” In rabbinic Aramaic “wood” is generally signified by `a`a (Jastrow:99).
  4. The last line of Finkletstein’s text is missing (F:200, l.11. On the basis of the Vatican ms, Hammer supplies “Festival Hut.” 145.4 is lacking in RH, TA and Pardo.